Before I had a car my life was small

miles from the city the only trips I took

was the 45 minute bus to school every day

and the rare trip to town with 

my elderly grandmother

life was simple

I read Poe, Plath, and Shelley in my room 

music blasting, curtains drawn

I was in my happy place


My wardrobe consisted of black on black

my teenage angst manifesting itself

I wasn’t depressed, I was lonely

Fourteen years old and

The only people who understood me

were the other outcasts at school

and the punk rock bands

whose posters covered my walls


I had the clothes

the combat boots

the choker necklace

red eye shadow

thick eyeliner

all I needed to complete my look

was the darker than night

blacker than raven



I planned the day I was going to do it

I saved all of my money for weeks

we were going to the mall

I planned my route,I made a bee line

for the makeup store

I knew my grandma would be upset

if she knew what I was up to


Passed the brushes the blushes

the creams and the shadows

Passed the candy pinks and the ruby reds

every other “pretty” color

the only color I find pretty

is Raven black matte lipstick

I grab it quickly

watching for my grandma

quickly, quickly

I fumble my money

I purchase my prize

shifty eyed and

full of guilt

Pocket the tube

I rush to get home


After I eat my dinner and do my homework

I go to my room, shut the door

lock it just in case

Sit in front of my mirror

look at my face

take a deep breath

I carefully take out the tube

slowly twist

the smooth velvet

spreads across my lips

I feel like myself

only one problem

I don’t yet have the confidence

that is required

when you go in public

wearing black lipstick 

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